Monday, September 1, 2014

Cartoons and Silent Films

The characters in the clip from Rocky and Bullwinkle resembled the characters from the silent films in several ways. Most notable to me was their ability to survive every near death experience. For example, Bullwinkle falls off the edge of a cliff and manages to survive when his antlers hook onto a branch and leave him hanging. This compares to the woman who survives countless times being tied to train tracks. She narrowly escapes every time. The characters in the cartoon and in the silent films also seem unintelligent at times, seemingly for a comedic effect. The man in Rocky and Bullwinkle takes his hands off the steering wheel to cover his eyes, while one of the villains in the silent film keeps dropping a hammer on his own foot. The villains are portrayed to be clueless at times.

Dudley Do Right obviously mimics the woman tied to the train tracks, where the man emerges as her hero. In the cartoon and in the silent film, the woman is helpless until her hero comes to save her. Also similar in both stories, the man always has the help of an animal: in the silent film, the woman sends her dog to find help, while in the cartoon, Dudley Do Right has the help of his horse. These animals seem indestructible. The dog jumps off a cliff, running to stop the train, and the horse survives an explosion and a broken leg. The woman in the cartoon is actually infatuated with the horse, not her hero. In a sense, one can view the horse as the hero of the story.

Finally, in both cartoons and silent films, the heroes always prevail, no matter how impossible their situations seem. Though Bullwinkle ends up in a sticky situation, he and his friend Rocky still manage to take possession of handfuls of gold coins. Dudley Do Right manages to stop the smuggler (though he does find himself chasing him once again), the woman is saved from the train tracks, and the Sheik’s wife saves her hero from her awful husband.

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